Sunday, 15 September 2013

Q&A with Jo Chan: It's Yoga Carnival time!

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jo (our Surya Yoga instructor and founder) over a nice healthy Japanese cherry snow salad and juice. I wanted to interview her about the upcoming Surya Yoga Carnival happening Sunday, 6th October 2013 at our very homey Surya Yoga studio.

A little collage of Jo I put together. You can always find her at 
Surya Yoga, either teaching classes or taking care of administration
 at the counter or even bobbing about the juice and salad bar whipping 
 up something healthy. She's very generous with her grins too!

It's been awhile since I set foot in Surya Yoga. I was on a long holiday in Johor Bahru (my city kampung) so coming back to Surya Yoga was pleasant and felt like coming back to my second home. So this is how our interview went.

Me : So Jo, tell me about this carnival that you've planned out. 
How did you come up with this idea?

Jo : I usually hold a special Surya Yoga event every year filled with tons of activities, promotions and overall - Fun Fun Fun (Jo grins from ear to ear). Our Surya Yoga community can get pretty serious -not only do we YOGA hard, we PLAY hard as well. 
Past years, I've had sort of 'anniversary' themed events. But I thought, "Hey, why not have a carnival themed one instead this year?" I want to bring the Surya Yoga community out to play and enjoy themselves. Newbies are very much welcomed to join us too!

Me : I'm curious to know about the itinerary of the carnival. How will it go?

Jo :  The main event for the carnival that I have planned out is - an 8 Hour Yogathon - 9am to 5pm of yoga. I've asked the Surya Yoga instructors if they wanted to volunteer to manage the yogathon and they all agreed wholeheartedly. 
From meditation, back beds, inversions right up to restorative yoga. Oh course there will be a break for lunch and light refreshments and a yoga performance by Jenny! 
Our little carnival booths will be opened all day, up till 5pm. So do drop by, even if you don't plan on joining our yogathon. 

Me : 8 hour yogathon? Really?
Whoah, but I haven't practised yoga for over 2 months, 
I'm not sure if I can handle an 8 hour yogathon. 
I can barely sometimes make it through 1 hour (my stamina is rather bad). 
Is it okay to go for certain parts of the yogathon instead of the full stretch? 

Jo :  Oh, no worries. It's a yogathon, but how do I put it? It's a relaxed, 'zen-ed out' yogathon. Yogathons are VERY different from typical marathons. You can go at your own pace, you can opt to sit through one or two and not attend the others. It's really 'come and go as you please' to put it in short. 
Those that take on the challenge of accomplishing the whole 8 hour stretch will get something special at the end of the day though. As you sneak out for a rest (if you do), there will be other carnival themed activities. The little carnival booths will be opened all around our studio! I'm pretty excited actually! Booths will include yoga apparel, equipment and other fun activities. 

Me : Who will be conducting the yogathon?

Jo :  Lily, Junko, Selina, Jenny, Ken, James and Regine.

(Me : I've inserted their profiles at the bottom of the posters, so you guys can have a look - just in case you are new to our Surya Yoga family *smiles*)

Me :What is the fee for the yogathon Jo?

Jo :  If you are an existing Surya Yoga member/student, it is absolutely FREE. Non members will be charged a small fee of RM50. Our carnival is open to everyone though, there is no entrance fee.

Me : I sense that there might be some surprises and great offers! 
Do tell me more... or is it top secret for now? (giggles).

Jo :  Yes, it's top secret, where's the excitement in knowing too much? All I can say is that it will be fun for all yoga enthusiasts and even for those who are just starting out. 
It will be an educational day with I suspect, a great amount of laughter AND not forgetting, tons of promotions and deals. Love yogi fashion? Well, we've got tons of that too! We've just stocked up on yoga apparel and can't wait to show you what we've got! 
I can only let out one tiny offer we have, rather small compared to the others. For current Surya Yoga members - Bring a long a friend, or friends.. the more the merrier! If anyone signs up for classes with us, you get a FREE brand new yoga mat! I think that's a pretty sweet deal.

Below are photos of past Surya Yoga Anniversary events

The interview ended with a hug and goodbyes (for now), will be back for yoga class later in the week. Since I stopped yoga for 2 months, my body aches for some stretching and exercise! Well, I'm definitely marking my calendar to go for this event! See you guys there? Don't forget to visit our FB page and our website for more updates.


Regine began her yoga practice in 2009. After she received the unfortunate news that she had T.B. she rigorously practiced 3-4 hours a day improving her health and life. After 3 short months of hard work, Regine enrolled herself in a Yoga Teacher's training course with Ojas Yoga in Kuala Lumpur and trained under Mr. Gilbert Ng. Later that same year, Regine also became a certified instructor in Yogilates and trained under Jonathan Urla at Ysynergy in Kuala Lumpur.

Yoga continued to be a central focus in Regine's life as she furthered her training in 2010 again at Ysynergy. She expanded her expertise by practising under Ms. Jacque Ho as she earned 100 hours towards her Chinese TTC. She continued her training with Ms. Jacque earning an additional 100 hours.

Enjoy a disciplined class with Regine. She designs classes in body alignment influenced by Iyengar Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and Forrest Yoga. Ana Forrest, is the founder of Forrest Yoga which is based upon 4 pillars : Breathe, Strength, Integrity and Spirit. Regine explains that this form of yoga helps release mental and physical toxins as it focuses on self awareness and inner strength through the breathe and practice.

Ken started his miraculous journey in 2010.He quickly falls in love into yoga after his consistency of yoga practice. Being a committed practitioner, not only gain the physically strength and flexibility. He sees the calmness, inner self and awareness from the practice on the mat, another aspect of yoga. – Mind & Soul.

He completed his 200hours Teaching Training with Dr.Jacqueline Koay at Sun Yoga KL in 2011. He attended workshop with Edward Clark. Currently, he is still doing self-practise, attending various teachers’ classes & workshops to deepen the knowledge and sharing.

He focuses his class in alignment, correct anatomy engages and self-awareness. He teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin & Yang. His class aims different approaches, where students are not limit by the common perception of Yoga by just jumping on the mat and work beyond the comfort zone with a mind of never give up & keep trying.

He is enjoying teaching & willing to share on and off the mat.

"Yoga is a lifestyle, not a workout.”
A simple phrase and yet a deep meaning behind it.

James has been practicing yoga for more than 8 years & has been actively teaching for almost 5 years after since he came back from New Zealand. He is a 200 Hours US Yoga Alliance Registered teacher. James is fun loving, gentle but can also be dynamic in his yoga classes; accompanied with his creative sequencing and good coaching skills.

His classes are fun, joyful and emotionally connected while deeply rooted in the Universal Principles of Anusara Yoga. James feels that one of the greatest gift of being a teacher is seeing students progress well physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually through their yoga practices. Currently, he teaches Gentle Flow, Dynamic Flow & Hot Yoga. James has been continuously upgrading himself by attending several workshops.

He is also a versatile teacher - Certified STOTT Pilates instructor (Specializing in Injury & Rehabilitation & Scoliosis, Prenatal & Postnatal); Certified Les Mills Body Balance. He has designed a workout called "SHAPE UP PILATES” to firm up the body effectively.

Jenny has been practising yoga since 2003. She discovered yoga by chance when accompanying her sister for a yoga class. Her sister suffered from arthritis at the time, and she was determined to show her full support.

Jenny fell in love with yoga almost immediately. It turns out, that she was gifted and had a natural ability to do yoga. With much tenacity and dedication, she built up on her health, strength and flexibility.

Armed with qualifications from Yoga Zone, she inspires many students in our Surya Yoga home. She doesn't look at yoga as a job, but more of a lifetime passion.

She admits rather bashfully that prior to her discovery of yoga, she was a timid, shy and withdrawn individual. With much pride, she says that yoga changed her life completely. From timid to total confidence, she leads dozens of students in her classes at Surya Yoga with ease and conviction.

She continues to follow her passion by improving her skills. She attends many workshops and study under many different yoga gurus/instructors. Her passion and attitude wins over many hearts. She continues to inspire our students leading beginner to advance classes at Surya Yoga.

Selina has been practising yoga for over 7-8 years. She completed 200 hours of training with yoga Alliance USA and trained under many yoga instructors to further strengthen her skills. She trained with much dedication with these instructors.

David Muelsam
Vincent Tam

Jacqueline Ho (Yoga Kids and Yoga Dance) 
Duncan Wong (Yogic Arts USA)
Rachel Hull (Shakti Spirit Yoga)
David Swenson (Yoga and Ayurveda)
Twee Merrigan (Prana Flow Yoga)
Simon Borg 
Jonathan Urla (Yogalates)
Edward Clark (Tripsichore Yoga) 
Julie Dorhman (Anusara Yoga)

Selina's yoga journey started when a close friend recommended her for a job in a yoga studio. She picked up yoga rather naturally. With yoga, she found herself to be fit, flexible and strong. 

Her life improved in many aspects; Physically, spiritually as well as lifestyle. She explains that yoga helped her shape up, tone her body and get fit. It helped her with her overall well being. Spiritually, she feels that yoga has made her more calm and she has better control of her emotions. She has learned about the importance of forgiveness and has developed a deep sense of empathy for others. Yoga is all about having a balanced life, she says. It is all about giving and taking in the same amount. Lastly, she mentions that in terms of lifestyle, her diet is much healthier and she surrounds herself with healthy, happy people.

Lily Cheong is a qualified Hattha yoga, Yin Yoga, Yang Yoga, Tao Yoga, Tai Chi as well as Qi Gong instructor. Armed with over 30 years of teaching experience, she is looked up by many in the field as one of few professionals in the field of yoga for therapy. She also owns her a yoga studio is Kajang called Everfit Yoga.

Her interest began 30 years ago when she started working in Singapore. She had always wanted to learn yoga and by sheer coincidence, she stumbled upon a yoga studio own by Joyce Choo. Joyce Choo later on became her first ever yoga guru.

Many more came after as she pursued yoga further to build up her strength, skill, stability, flexibility and technique.

What does she say about yoga? "Yoga is for maintaining your health. You will get to know yourself better and be able to unite the mind, body and soul."

In addition, she strongly believes that asana practitioners need to follow the 8 limbs of yoga to reap the full benefits. She is our brand new addition to our Surya Yoga instructors. She teaches Yoga Therapy on Sunday mornings. We are proud to have her in our ever growing Surya Yoga family.

Junko playfully weaves alignment, dynamic and creative sequencing with her humorous instructions. Her classes are fun, joyful and emotionally connected while deeply rooted in the Universal Principles of Anusara Yoga. She has studied under many teachers like Amy Ippolity, Noah Maze, etc. but her biggest influence is Desiree Rumbaugh, whom she has the opportunity to learn from over 2 years. She has cultivated both strength and flexibility, which made her good flyer for acroyoga. You can also check out her classes at

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